St. Petersburg, Fl – This ALDS isn't over yet much to the surprise of most in baseball circles. The Astros, who won 107 regular season games, now have been pushed to a fifth and decisive Game 5 Thursday night at MInute Maid Park.
The Rays earned the 4-1 win Tuesday night to even the series at 2-2.
VERLANDER STRUGGLED TO FIND HIS RHYTHM
Justin Verlander came back on 3 days rest instead of his normal 4 days. His velocity was fine but his location was not good and not even close to what we all witnessed during his season. The Rays pounced on Verlander from the opening inning putting up 3 runs in the bottom of the first inning . Tommy Pham's homer got it started and they worked Verlander hard forcing him to make 32 pitches in the first inning. His night was done after just 3 2/3's innings allowing 7 hits, 4 runs , 3 walks and 2 homers. Verlander threw 84 pitches coming off of his 100 pitch outing in Game 1 last Friday.
RAYS HAVE THE TOTAL PACKAGE
Time after time we saw and we heard from the Astros just how talented their starting pitching and bullpen are. The Rays have the best bullpen in baseball and they've proven it so far in this ALDS series. Defense has been solid and their bats have come alive in this series belting 5 home runs in Games 3 and 4 at Tropicana Field. They won 96 games for a reason and despite being underdogs in this series the Rays believe more than ever they can come to Minute Maid Park and take Game 5 and advance to the ALCS to face the Yankees.
ASTROS NOT LACKING CONFIDENCE
The Astros are not a team lacking in confidence despite this series being tied 2-2 now. It's going to be a pressure packed environment Thursday night and that's ok with the Astros. That said, they have total respect for the Rays and are not taking this game for granted. George Springer said it's been a great season but now it's a "win or go home" situation. Carlos Correa echoed what Springer said after the loss but added " We're going home, need the fans and we will win the game."